In India, start-ups are literally mushrooming. Be it online learning platforms, beauty products, e-commere, food websites, used car marketplaces, big data analytics, softwares, online can rentals, video intelligence or even travel guide apps.
Few of the coolest start-ups that have grown in leaps and bounds are ShopClues (founded by Sanjay Sethi, Radhika Ghai Aggarwal and Sandeep Aggarwal), MySmartPrice (founded by Sitakanta Ray and Sulakshan Kumar), Edureka (founded by Lovleen Bhatia and Kapil Tyagi), JunoTele Solutions (founded by Sekhar Rao), Linkstreet Learning (founded by Arun Muthukumar and Vikram Ramakrishnan) and LimeRoad (founded by Suchi Mukherjee, Ankush Mehra and Prashant Malik). Others like Zomato (founded by Deepinder Goyal), Urban Ladder( founded by Ashish Goel, Rajiv Srivatsa) and Ola Cabs (founded by Bhavish Aggarwal) are few other fasted growing ones.
Pre-seed funding: But no matter how rosy the picture might seem, start-ups are a gamble. For every aspiring entrepreneur, it is important to keep in mind the concept of pre-seed funding, or in local parlance, the nascent stage of venture funding. To start with, the business model needs to find a gap and solve a customer problem to survive in this stiff competitive world. After all, you need to make your business model sound viable during the pitch phase to investors. The initial battle can be won only by selling off your idea of unit economic profitability.
Homogenous team: No, we are not talking about avoiding cat fights and hair-pulling episodes. We are talking about having a homogenous team, where you have cross-pollination of ideas, a diverse set of people who are constantly looking out for more than appraisals, salaries and holidays. Any strong business idea cannot survive without passionate people. And here, passion literally needs to run in your veins, pumping you up with infectious energy.
Market Opportunity: Your business model, along with being realistic, needs to have a clearly outlined outline the market opportunity. It does not matter if it’s an app about selling fresh fruits and vegetables door to door or just ensuring the comfort of a limousine in a rented cab. The potential scale of your market opportunity should keep the industry specifics in mind. And within deadlines, too. To cut it short, always treat your deadline as yesterday. Ahem!
Competitor analysis: The quintessential understanding of your own SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and threats) is incomplete without delving deeper into the competitive landscape. Leave privacy and copyright laws. Just think simple, why can’t another competitor replicate your idea, immediately? What is that one unique thing that your brand offers and none others.
Stay Original: Start-ups are not a gamble if your ideas are original. No copy-paste, strictly. The Indian market is still untapped and there are millions of opportunities to explore. The unique selling proposition needs to have life of its own, something irresistible. Along with a smart execution strategy, the strong footing coupled with a vision serves best.
Funding: Here’s where the main battle comes in. If you think, there’s a dearth of investors, think again. Investors like Kae Capital, InfoEdge, Srinivas Tirupati, Nexus Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley and Tiger Global as well as Nirvana Ventures Advisors have been investing in start-ups related to their verticals. In fact, did you know that Nidhi Agarwal, founder of startup Kaaryah, got investment for her online fashion retail startup from Ratan Tata, yes, Ratan Tata by just shooting an e-mail?
So, start-ups are a gamble, but not the ones in which you face rejection and loss. So buck up. Start your venture. Don’t be a stranger. Connect and Network. If your idea is worthwhile, it will survive. Just take that leap of faith.